Dining with Dignitaries: Dancing with Demons
By Larry Arrowood
II Corinthians 7:14-18 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
John 17:14-18 “I have given them thy word; and the world bath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”
There is a tightrope of separation we walk in this world; to fall off to one side is isolationism; the other side is liberalism. With either of these extremes we become less effective for the kingdom. To preach separation may push some hearers into isolationism; while to fail to preach separation would render the church liberal (worldly) within a generation or less. How do we maintain a balance to be the most effective?
First of all, we must understand that the world has an agenda for the Apostolic faith, as well as the Lord has an agenda. The world’s agenda is to render us powerless through compromise. The Lord’s agenda is for us to remain the salt of the earth – a light set on a hill. Is it possible to be successful in the world while staying within the perimeters that God through His word establishes? Some ask, “How close to the world can I live and still be effective as a Christian?” Better we should ask, “How far from the world can I live and still be effective for God’s Kingdom?”
Consider two contrasting Bible characters: Daniel and King Saul. Daniel was concerned about establishing lines of separation within his life; Saul was forever erasing and expanding the lines.
Daniel and his three Hebrew friends in Babylonian captivity decided not to eat food from the king’s banqueting table. “Give us herbs and water instead,” they requested. Why? Could it be they wanted to refrain from developing a taste for the world? The Holy Spirit gives us power to train our appetites and passions
for God rather than for this world. We do not fail in the heat of the battle; we fail in the day-to-day process of making decisions. Daniel seemed to say:
“If we dine, we may expose our appetites to the flesh.
If we dine we may dance,
If we dance we may date,
If we date we may marry,
If we marry we may compromise our faith.
So, to be safe, we will not dine!”
Daniel made a decision to draw a line in his life. He drew the line a safe distance from where the battle would eventually be fought. The decisive battle would come later, when he had to decide whether or not he would pray to another god other than Jehovah. The consequences could mean dinner for the lions, but Daniel had already prepared for this battle when he refused to eat dinner from the king’s table.
King Saul was another story. He failed, or else refused, to draw lines of separation within his life, and he was guilty of expanding the existing lines. In the end, we see him dancing with demons: prophesying while influenced by an evil spirit, and attempting to call up Samuel from the spirit world. When an apparition appeared (evidently an evil spirit), Saul could not tell the difference.
The Apostolic church is becoming recognized as an influential group in Christendom but is also challenged to accept a more tolerant doctrinal stand in order to be politically and religiously correct. We are told that all are serving the same God and are going to the same heaven, so why rock the boat along the journey. This may sound trivial to some, but what they are saying is:
Insistence on baptism in Jesus’ name is too dogmatic.
The oneness of God is a matter of semantics.
The Holy Spirit baptism happens when one believes:
Speaking in tongues is acceptable but not necessary.
Refraining from social drinking is not an issue, merely a personal choice.
Playing the lottery is not that bad unless one is addicted to it.
Modesty of dress is a personally defined issue:
No one has the right to dictate guidelines of dress.
If these are not important issues, why was Daniel so adamant? He survived working for three kings, and he certainly made a difference in his world, not by compromising with it, rather standing firm on his faith.
How far do we go with the ideas of the world until we say, “Here is where we must draw a line. We cannot dine!” Do we not realize the world’s hope is that the church maintains lines of both lifestyle and doctrinal separation? The world needs the church to remain a light set on a hill, and to maintain a distinctive salty flavor.
Article “Dining With Dignitaries: Dancing With Demons” written by Larry Arrowood is taken from an unknown source.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”